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une grande passion, à la Byron. Unhappily, too, she has been lately present at the marriage of a friend dearer to her than I am (though, strange to say, that friend is a stern Mentor, too), and she has also resided some time at the house of that friend, whose 'stately happiness has awakened the dormant pride of my little beauty.
The consequence is, forsooth, that she is no longer satisfied with the passion of Lord Annandale, and ardently desires to inspire a grave, a dignified, a respectful sentiment. Ha, ha! the very thought of this fantastic foolery makes me laugh. Having accepted the first offer she received (for she is yet little more than sixteen, and has not been presented in the world), she discovers that she does not love the man she has promised to wed; yet, is ashamed of revealing this circumstance to her parents, lest they should consider her a weak, vacillating child ; which is precisely what she is, and a spoiled one into the bargain, by the unexampled indulgence of her doting father and mother.
All that I have now told you, Lady Augusta has written to me; and a little encouragement on my part would have led her to be equally confidential with her friends. But, this encouragement I did not, would not give her, for reasons of my own; nay, I have done all in my power to induce her to fulfil her engagement.
Be it known to you, belle et bonne Delphine, that, being extremely tired of the society of madame ma tante in the country, and extremely anxious to pass the ensuing season in London, my sole chance for the accomplishment of this desideratum, is to get Lady Augusta converted from a giddy and useless demoiselle just emerging from her governess and nursery, into a dame à la mode ; a useful chaperon, in whose brilliant mansion in town I may secure myself a séjour. I am eight years, bien sonnés, the senior of my friend, and have acquired an influence over her, of the extent of which
even she is unconscious.
Should her lord
disapprove of my spending as much time as I choose beneath his roof, I can always, by insinuating to her that he treats her as child, excite her to rebel against his power. At present, however, I see no probability of being necessitated to practise this stratagem, for, he appears very tractable.
I had intended taking up my abode for the season with notre amie, la comtesse; mais, helas!
some reports of her impropriety of conduct, that (entre nous soit dit) admit not of denial or defence, have reached ma tante, who would not hear of my resting a single night beneath her roof; nay, who will not hear of my keeping up any intimacy with her. I had, therefore, no other chance of visiting the metropolis, except that of converting Lady Augusta Vernon into Madame la Comtesse d'Annandale; and this desirable metamorphosis I have accomplished.
On my arrival here, I found ma petite heroine, a second Niobe, all tears : her futur evidently mortified at her lachrymose propensity; her papa and mamma all wonder at her melancholy; and a certain Marquess of Nottingham looking as if he too could have wept, merely for the pleasure of keeping her company. This, you will allow, was an unpromising commencement; yet, I have, by the exercise of tact- that virtue acquired in your country, and which is more useful than all the others combined - managed to restore a good understanding between all the parties.
I persuaded the sapient papa and mamma, that all their daughter's chagrin arose from
regret at leaving them; and won their hearts by this protestation. I insinuated to le futur, that, when his wife had an opportunity of comparing him with other men, she would be better able to appreciate her good fortune in having secured him. Had you seen the radiant smile with which this compliment was received, you would have acknowledged, that flattery is worth all the cosmetics in the world for beautifying those to whom it is administered. From that moment, Lord Annandale was my friend, and a sort of confidential intimacy is established between us, which I mean to turn to good account. There is one person here, however, whom I cannot manage; and I hate him, for that reason. I allude to the Marquess of Nottingham, who seemed, from the first moment of our acquaintance, to recede from my advances with a sort of instinctive dread, or dislike. I have carefully concealed my discovery of this